There have been numerous cabinet reshuffle rumours in less than two years since Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the government. Subsequently, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed brushed-off those rumours, labelling them as baseless.
However, this may not be the case after PH’s landslide loss in the Tanjung Piai by-election. The Prime Minister hinted that a cabinet reshuffle might happen in the near future, yet it is not definite.
According to media intelligence, it is noticeable that talks on a cabinet reshuffle became more prominent in the second half of the year as compared to the first six months of 2019.
There were about 350 articles published regarding the cabinet reshuffle issue in November, higher than the previous cabinet reshuffle rumours which surfaced in February and August.
Regarding the cabinet reshuffle, Tun Mahathir said the decision would not be done hastily. Plus, he said he will consult all component parties in PH before making up his mind.
As the announcement was made after the Tanjung Piai by-election, many speculated that Tun Mahathir decided to conduct the reshuffle due to PH’s poor result in the by-election.
For the by-election result, MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng dominated the poll with a majority of 15,086 votes against Bersatu’s Karmaine Sardini.
Observing the top persons’ chart for the ‘Cabinet Reshuffle’ topic, it is not surprising for Tun Mahathir to top the list, being mentioned in over 250 articles in the past one month.
On the other hand, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the second most mentioned person, appearing in 84 articles.
Anwar has been the subject of long-running speculation as he was rumoured to be added in the cabinet since 2018. Nevertheless, Tun Mahathir shut down the rumour, stating there was no vacancy in the cabinet.
For the latest cabinet reshuffle issue, the Prime Minister teased Anwar, stating that the latter would not be added into the cabinet. In return, Anwar said that he did not apply for a role in the cabinet.
Although Anwar said that he had no intention of taking up a role in the cabinet, the issue of power succession from Mahathir to Anwar was heavily reported by the media.
Is it possible for Anwar to succeed Mahathir as the Prime Minister if he was not even to be appointed into the cabinet in the possibly upcoming reshuffle?